INSIDEMAINLAND– Shop owners in Lagos State have criticized and praised the state administration for closing some important markets in the state.
The state administration gave the traders permission to receive their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) on Thursday by issuing the directive on Wednesday.
As reporters visited some of the state’s largest marketplaces to assess the degree of compliance with the government’s mandate, the dealers offered their differing opinions.
The visit revealed that some of the major markets had only minimal activity due to traders’ cooperation with the state government’s order that they obtain their PVCs.
Balogun, Idumota, Ajah, Iyana Ipaja, Alaguntan, Ipaja, Command, and Ayobo were among the markets that were visited.
However, some traders at these exchanges criticized the move and asserted that billions of naira were being wasted as a result of the order that markets not open.
Alhaja Kudirat Owowale, the manager of Iya Oloja Irewolede Modern Market in Idumota, claimed that all the businesses along that axis followed the rules.
She claims that the directive will allow merchants to represent a sizable portion of the electorate in the 2023 elections.
Owowale, however, said that the orders to close down businesses had a significant negative impact on sales output and that they were forced to comply because they were government orders.
She claimed that before issuing such a directive, the government ought to have engaged with industry leaders.
In order to ensure appropriate representation at the polls in 2023, she asked traders to turn out in droves and acquire their PVC.
“Truly, this directive has affected us; there’s nothing we can do about it, we have complied and the markets are empty.
“This kind of thing, going forward, we should be consulted so that we can advise on how it should be done. It can be a partial closure or section-by-section closure so that activities in the market are not totally at zero such as this that we have.
“We look forward to resuming trading because we cannot quantify how much has been lost already,” she said.
Mr. Lateef Babamole, a fabric trader on Lagos Island, claimed that the change was not particularly advantageous to the traders because people who get PVCs at the markets might not be able to cast their ballots in another site.
“Traders may just collect for collecting sake as many of them do not live near the market areas at all and some even live in Ogun State.
“Because of this, they may not be able to vote at the end of the day. Although, it is good to have the card the losses the market would record from having the card are not worth it,” he said.
The loss of a community leader and adherence to market leadership directions both contributed to the low activity at Aleshinliye Market in the Ajah Area.
The mandate gave many of the vendors the chance to obtain their PVCs, according to Mrs. Alice Barnabas, a dealer who was hanging out in the market.
Additionally, business owners in the Alimosho Local Government Area followed the market leadership’s direction by closing their doors.
Mr. God-Power Chinedu, a shop owner at Iyana-Ipaja Market, claimed that while doing so was difficult for him personally as a business owner, it was necessary to fulfill a national duty.
Due to the crowds at the many registration places, many of the traders, according to Chinedu, have been unable to register for the PVC since it began.
He claimed that they were committed to accomplishing this within the window of time allotted for them to shut down their businesses.
The man stated,“I have been able to register mine yesterday but some of my sales boys and shop neighbors are still at various registration centres to get theirs done before the end of today,”
The government may need to extend the deadline for registering PVCs, according to Alhaja Sherifat Amoo, a rice vendor at Ayobo Market, because of the overwhelming number of people who had still to be identified for the exercise.
“Many of us are yet to register for the PVC because of the crowd and would not be happy if we are disenfranchised.
“Government should consider us and extend the date so that we can also partake in the voting exercise,” she said.
Amoo, however, requested INEC to send more registration centers and staff to the state’s biggest local government, the Alimosho Local Government Area.